Gen Z TikTokers Declare Laugh-Cry Emoji No Longer Cool (Is Nothing Sacred Anymore?)

Gen Z is the reason millennials can’t have nice things. First, they came for side parts. Then, they canceled skinny jeans. Now they want to take away the iconic laugh-cry emoji, too.

The battle is happening on TikTok (where everything seems to be happening these days).

@maijakarppinenMillennial to Gen Z #millennial #genz #millennialsoftiktok #girls♬ Everywhere – Michelle Branch

But TikTokers’ urgency to cancel the emoji is kind of confusing. After all, according to EmojiTracker.com, it’s currently the most-used emoji in existence.

@verossiiDo you guys agree we should be cancelling this one instead ? #emoji #laughingemoji #genz #millennial♬ original sound – Veronica Rossi

“What’s wrong with the laughing emoji[?],” one TikToker commenter asked on the social media platform. Another commenter declared: “it’s so off.”

In a CNN article on the controversy, a 17-year-old claimed that the laugh-cry emoji was “bland” and that “not too many people” use it anymore.

“I use everything but the laughing emoji,” 21-year-old Walid Mohammed told CNN Business. “I stopped using it a while back because I saw older people using it, like my mom, my older siblings and just older people in general.”

So, like any trend, the laugh-cry emoji is just overused, and therefore not cool?

“If you indicate digital laughter for years and years in the same way, it starts to feel insincere. … The hyperbole gets worn out through continued use,” explained internet linguist (wait, that’s a thing?) Gretchen McCulloch, who also authored the book Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language.

Others have a different explanation. Basically, if you use the laugh-cry emoji, you’re old AF. Even if, numerically, you aren’t.

According to Jeremy Burge, the chief emoji officer (that’s a thing?) of Emojipedia, the laughing-crying emoji is most popular among an even old generation than millennials.

“It’s common wisdom on TikTok that the laughing crying emoji is for boomers,” he wrote in a blog post. “And by boomers I mean anyone over the age of 35.” Oof. (Also: fact-check your shit, sir. Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964.)

Here’s a hot take: Stop trying to pigeon-hole people based on generational stereotypes. If someone wants to rock a side part, skinny jeans, and the laugh-cry emoji, let them, without judgment. After all, everything you think is cool will eventually become antiquated and one day you’ll be the Boomer.

Cover Photo: yayayoyo (Getty Images)

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